US stocks rise amid optimism on Greece; Cigna jumps after rejecting Anthem's 'inadequate' bid

Energy Associated Press

U.S. stocks moved higher in early trading Monday on hopes of a breakthrough in Greece's bailout discussions with its creditors. The eurozone's top official says creditors aim to get a deal on Greece's bailout later in the week.

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Health care stocks were among the leading gainers on deal news in the sector.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow Jones industrial average was up 136 points, or 0.7 percent, to 18,151 as of 10:18 a.m. Eastern. The Standard & Poor's 500 index climbed 16 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,126 and the Nasdaq composite rose 40 points, or 0.7 percent, to 5,150.

GREECE IS THE WORD: Greece and its creditors remain in tense talks. The Mediterranean nation needs more loans from its fellow eurozone states and the International Monetary Fund to enable it to make a June 30 debt payment. The country has been negotiating for four months on what economic reforms it should undertake in exchange for the loans.

ANALYST'S TAKE: "Financial markets are starting the week in the hopeful belief that a 'last minute' deal between the Greek government and its official creditors can be achieved," said Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital.

EUROPE OPTIMISM: The main stock indexes in Europe were sharply higher as negotiations between Green and its creditors continued. Germany's DAX was up 3 percent, France's CAC 40 is up 2.8 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 was up 1 percent.

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HEALTHY DEAL: Health insurers Cigna and Anthem were sharply higher after Anthem made a $47 billion bid to buy its competitor. Anthem, which runs the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance network, was up $6.65, or 4 percent, to $171.71. Cigna was up $9.51, or 6 percent, to $164.73.

Cigna described the bid as "inadequate" and not in the best interests of its shareholders.

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 21 cents to $59.77 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, a benchmark for international oil used by many U.S. refineries, fell 29 cents to $62.71.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES: In government bond trading, prices fell. The yield on the benchmark 10-year note rose to 2.34 percent from 2.26 percent on Friday.

The euro was little changed $1.1369 against the dollar, while the dollar rose to 123.26 yen.